Wednesday, December 16, 2009

See Brooklyn's Parks at Museum of the City of NY

In October photographer Joel Meyerowitz released Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks, a collection of photographs documenting the almost 9,000 acres of parks in the five boroughs of the city.

Commissioned by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the book features 250 photos of green spaces from Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx (the largest park in the city at over 2,700 acres), to Riverside Park in Manhattan, to High Rock Park in Staten Island.

Naturally, there are a large number of photographs taken in Brooklyn, most from Prospect Park.
Eagle editor Raanan Geberer spoke with Meyerowitz last month, you can read his story here. Last week, I took a tour of the accompanying exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, given by the photographer himself.

Split into three rooms, works in the first two rooms are printed on large sheets of recyclable Tyvek paper.
Meyerowitz explained that he also used biodegradable ink for the prints, “a green process for a show about the environment.”

Upon walking into the exhibit, you are literally in the Bronx River, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling photos and a photo on the floor, “so you can walk on water,”
Meyerowitz said. Going to the next room, you proceed “from river into woodlands” he explained, where there are more Tyvek prints, this time of various trees and woods throughout the city.

The final stage of the exhibit is a larger room with dozens of photographs separated by Borough. Brooklyn is represented by Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, Marine Park, Louis Valentino Jr. Park, Owl’s Head Park and Sunset Park.

I thought the exhibit was amazing, particularly Bronx River room — it was as if we actually were in the river. I was blown away by these photographs, because when I think of New York City, I don’t really think of wilderness. So many of the pieces have no urban elements, if I didn’t know they were taken in the city, I would never guess.

Meyerowitz gives a fresh and much-needed look at the green spaces around us, and I think (I hope) as people see his photos, they have a new appreciation and respect for what’s in them.

The Legacy photography exhibit will continue through March 21. For more information, visit

All photos of Prospect Park. Top photo: Long Meadow, autumn. Middle photo: Wellhouse Drive, spring. Bottom photo: woods in the Ravine, autumn.

Copyright Joel Meyerowitz, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY

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